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How to Present Your Proposal at an Executive Meeting

Patricia FrippBy Featured Speaker Patricia Fripp

What’s the worst reaction you’ve ever gotten when you made an important presentation? Probably, it would come in second to the one I just heard about. A woman–ironically she was interviewing me for an article about “Knockout Presentations”–told me the story of her disaster. It was early in her career as a policy analyst. She was just out of school, proud of her MBA and working in her first real job. When her supervisor praised a report she’d done, she was thrilled. She was less thrilled when her “reward” turned out to be presenting the same report to their executive team.

She spent a tense week getting ready, making sure she knew exactly what to say. She spent hours writing out her presentation and prepared every conceivable statistic to back up her points. It never occurred to her however, that how she presented was as important as what she presented.

When her turn came to deliver her report, things quickly went downhill. Naturally, she was nervous. A lot depended on the next few minutes. She stumbled through 200 slides, forgot her lines, and got more and more flustered. Bored executives weren’t sure what her point was and started glancing at their watches, which made it even worse. Desperate, she wanted to flee–and her audience probably did too! When she concluded, they didn’t ask a single question. That would have extended the already painful event.
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